In this episode, Jason Crawford, Brian Tully McLaughlin, and Agustin Orozco explore the issues before the Supreme Court in two consolidated cases involving the False Claims Act. The hosts discuss the April 18 oral argument in Schutte/Proctor where the question before the Justices is whether a defendant’s subjective knowledge about whether its conduct was legal
Fastest 5 Minutes: False Claims Act, Emergency Contracting Measures
This week’s episode covers resolution of False Claims Act allegations relating to alleged payments in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act, cessation of certain emergency contracting measures deployed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and DoD Instruction 8310.01 relating to DoD IT, and is hosted by Peter Eyre and Yuan Zhou. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes”…
New Jersey Firm Pays $2.2M to Settle FCA Allegations it Received Improper PPP Loan
On April 3, 2023, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced a settlement with a public relations firm to resolve allegations that the New Jersey company violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by receiving a $2 million second-draw loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to which the company was not…
Fair Warning Protection or a “Free Pass to Fleece the Public Fisc”?: SCOTUS Takes Up the Safeco Objective Reasonableness Standard and Subjective Intent Under the FCA
Next Tuesday, April 18, 2023, the highest court in the land will hear arguments in what is poised to be the most influential False Claims Act (FCA) case since the landmark decision in Universal Health Servs. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016). On January 13, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear two consolidated appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in United States ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc., 9 F.4th 455 (7th Cir. 2021) and United States ex rel. Proctor v. Safeway, Inc., 30 F.4th 649 (7th Cir. 2022). The Court’s decision will likely have far-reaching ramifications for FCA cases involving ambiguous contractual or regulatory requirements and may also provide benchmarks for assessing the key element of scienter across all FCA cases.
In Supervalu and Safeway, the Seventh Circuit joined several of its sister circuits in applying the scienter standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Safeco Insurance Company of America v. Burr, 551 U.S. 47 (2007) to the FCA, finding that a defendant’s conduct is not reckless when (1) acting under an objectively reasonable, albeit erroneous, interpretation of an ambiguous regulation or contract provision; and (2) no authoritative guidance existed to warn the defendant away from that interpretation.
Continue Reading Fair Warning Protection or a “Free Pass to Fleece the Public Fisc”?: SCOTUS Takes Up the Safeco Objective Reasonableness Standard and Subjective Intent Under the FCA
Lincoln’s Law Turns 160
March 2, 2023, marked the 160-year anniversary of the enactment of the False Claims Act (FCA). Signed into law by the sixteenth president, the statute known as “Mr. Lincoln’s Law” was passed in response to the actions of contractors that sold rancid food, faulty rifles, and shoddy uniforms to the Union Army. Eight score after the law’s passage, the FCA has become the government’s primary enforcement tool in cases involving allegations of fraud, and today the Civil War era statute is applied in cases involving industries and federal programs that would have exceeded Lincoln’s wildest imagination.
The Top FCA Developments of 2022
2022 was a busy year for the False Claims Act. While recoveries were down, new cases reached a record mark, and settlements addressed multiple important and developing enforcement areas, from cybersecurity to small business fraud, bid rigging, Trade Agreements Act compliance, pandemic fraud, and more. Of particular note, the U.S. Supreme Court held argument concerning…
Hundreds of Millions of Potential Liability Result from Federal Jury False Claims Act Verdict Against Ophthalmology Product Distributor
In a prime example of the significant interplay between the Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) and the False Claims Act (“FCA”), a federal jury has returned a verdict of more than $43 million in damages against Cameron-Ehlen Group, Inc., which does business as “Precision Lens,” and its owner. The verdict in this long-running and closely watched fraud case out of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota comes after a six-week trial, with the jury ultimately finding that the defendants paid kickbacks to ophthalmic surgeons to induce their use of defendants’ products in cataract surgeries reimbursed by Medicare, resulting in the submission of 64,575 false claims between 2006 and 2015. While the jury calculated damages at the massive sum of $43 million, that number may grow exponentially after the court applies the FCA’s treble-damages calculation (increasing the liability to $129 million) and statutory penalties of between $5,500 and $11,000 for each of the 64,575 claims (resulting in additional penalties of $355 million to $710 million). All told, the total FCA liability is expected to range between $485 million and $839 million.
Continue Reading Hundreds of Millions of Potential Liability Result from Federal Jury False Claims Act Verdict Against Ophthalmology Product Distributor
Let’s Talk FCA: False Claims Act Enforcement Trends
In this episode, hosts Michael Shaheen and Jason Crawford discuss the Department of Justice’s recently announced False Claims Act (FCA) recovery statistics for fiscal year 2022. The podcast breaks down last year’s FCA activity—which included a record number of new matters—and considers what the trends could portend for fraud enforcement in the year to come.
Fasted 5 Minutes: GSA Software Acquisition and False Claims Act
This week’s episode covers new guidance from GSA about acquisition of approved software, DOJ’s report of activity under the False Claims Act during FY22, and DoD’s use of innovative commercial products and services using general solicitation competitive procedures, and is hosted by Peter Eyre and Yuan Zhou. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a…
What DOJ’s 2022 Recovery Stats Reveal About FCA Enforcement Trends
On February 7, 2023, the Department of Justice issued the False Claims Act (FCA) recovery statistics for fiscal year 2022. While the $2.2 billion recovered by the Department and qui tam relators was down from the prior year, 2022 saw a record number of new FCA matters initiated. Underscoring the flurry of FCA activity, there…